Denver Artist Katy Zimmerman on the Witch Collective and the City's Art Scene | Westword

Colorado Creatives

100 Colorado Creatives 4.0: Katy Zimmerman

Mysticism, nature and personal politics mingle freely in Denver artist Katy Zimmerman’s organic work, rendered in a constellation of mediums while hurtling through a dimensional space-time continuum.
Zimmerman wearing pool noodle strands made with Genevieve Waller for Titwrench 2017.
Zimmerman wearing pool noodle strands made with Genevieve Waller for Titwrench 2017. Photo by Katy Zimmerman
Share this:
#76: Katy Zimmerman

Mysticism, nature and personal politics mingle freely in artist Katy Zimmerman’s organic work, rendered in a constellation of mediums while hurtling through a dimensional space-time continuum. As a micro-entrepreneur and people person, she also recycles her own charming, star-studded imagery into affordable cards, prints, stickers and “Fuck the Patriarchy” pins, selling them in community with the Witch Collective, a group she helped found. Comprised of like-minded makers looking for grassroots ways to do business, the collective direct-markets wares at seasonal pop-ups that keep costs down for both the buyer and the seller. What’s next in her universe? Get lost in the stars with Katy Zimmerman via the 100CC questionnaire.

click to enlarge
“Visions of the Half Moon,” part of an installation at Boxcar Gallery, May 2017.
Photo by Genevieve Waller
Westword: What (or who) is your creative muse?

Katy Zimmerman: Honestly, Instagram has been one of the best tools for me to discover new artists and spark new ideas regarding materials and subject matter. I’ve made so many art friends on there and gotten ideas for new ways to use materials, etc.

Sharing art space with Genevieve Waller has been so rewarding. It’s wonderful to have someone so smart and insightful to bounce ideas off of and get advice from and geek out to music with.

Thrifting is also good for my brain. I try to go at least once a week. Looking through things someone else has discarded gives me a thrill — it’s like a treasure hunt. You never know when you’ll find the base for a sculpture or painting, or the perfect frame. And don’t get me started on the clothes.

Also, kid art! It’s magical!

Which three people, dead or alive, would you like to invite to your next party, and why?

Leonore Fini, Björk and Yayoi Kusama. All three of these incredible artists had/have such a wide range of materials and/or subject matter, not to mention interesting personal style.

click to enlarge
Katy Zimmerman, installation process of “Egress” at Goldyn, 2016.
Photo by Dena Zimmerman
What’s the best thing about the local creative community in your field — and the worst?

My field is always changing and evolving, if you mean what materials I’m using. I think our art community here is pretty supportive, if you find your niche. Otherwise it can feel a bit clique-ish. Also, as everywhere, it’s getting harder and harder for artists to find affordable workspaces. This isn’t just an artist problem. So many folks are being pushed out of Denver with nowhere to go. Gentrification is suffocating the neighborhoods and stamping out any culture that was here.

Are trends worth following? What’s one trend you love and one that you hate?

Minimalism as a lifestyle has become problematic. It’s touted as a higher level of living, and those who follow a minimalist life can be holier than thou. Minimalism is only truly available to those who can afford it. Minimalist art is a whole different thing, and I love it.

click to enlarge
Small mural in process in Zimmerman's mother's back yard.
Photo by Dena Zimmerman
You’ve come this far in life. What’s still on your bucket list?

I’m not a huge fan of the term “bucket list,” perhaps because there are too many things I would add to it and never get to. Painting a large mural is something I’d really love to do soon. I’ve always wanted to take a huge road trip across the U.S. to visit all the strange and aging amusement parks (like Lakeside here in Denver), along with odd roadside attractions and interesting art galleries. It would be a very long trip.

What’s your best or favorite accomplishment as an artist?

Probably the fact that I still consider myself an artist. Sometimes it’s difficult to not let life things and day jobs and other commitments get in the way.

click to enlarge
Zimmerman at a Witch Collective market in 2016, with illustrated background added.
Photo by Tessa Crisman
Denver, love it or leave it? What keeps you here — or makes you want to leave?

This answer is pretty much the same as my answer about the creative community. My family and friends are the biggest reason I stay.

Who is your favorite Colorado Creative?

Picking just one person is impossible! Frankie Toan is certainly high on the list. Toan's work is so smart and inspiring. Jacqueline Sophia Cordova is such a creative force; everything she makes is gorgeous, and I’m pretty sure her collage work made me want to give collage a try. Also, Esther Hernandez and her ability to create interesting DIY performance pieces.

click to enlarge
Installation progress for “Diorama of the Cosmos” at the Fiske Planetarium in Boulder.
Photo by Genevieve Waller
What's on your agenda in the coming year?

I have a solo show at Lowbrow in February, and I’m excited to try out some small-scale sculptural things for it.

Almost exactly one year ago, I helped found a group called Witch Collective as a means to offer an affordable alternative to the saturated art/craft market scene here. Every market is also a fundraiser for local nonprofits; it feels good that we can give back to our community. I’m excited to see how we, as a collective, will grow and evolve in our second year.

The Secret Love Collective, which I joined a few months after it formed earlier this year, has quite a few exciting projects lined up for 2018. Stay tuned!

Who do you think will get noticed in the local arts community in the coming year?

Faatma is an amazing artist of many mediums (find her on Instagram). I’ve been adoring all her new large-scale and mural pieces and can’t wait to see what she does next!

Diorama of the Cosmos, a collaborative installation reimagining the solar system in uncharted parameters by Genevieve Waller and Katy Zimmerman, opens with a reception from 7 to 10 p.m. Saturday, September 30, and runs through December 21 at Fiske Auditorium, 2414 Regent Drive on the University of Colorado Boulder campus.

Shop the Witch Collective’s Samhain Mercantile, a first-anniversary autumn market showcasing local makers and artists, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Sunday, October 15, at the Mercury Cafe, 2199 California Street. The day will also include kids’ activities and a Witch Wellness Fair; 10 percent of all proceeds benefit ADAPT.

Learn more about Katy Zimmerman online and on Instagram. Keep up with the Witch Collective on Facebook and Instagram.
KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. Your membership allows us to continue offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food, and culture with no paywalls. You can support us by joining as a member for as little as $1.